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Field Guides Tour Report
Thanksgiving in Jamaica 2018
Nov 18, 2018 to Nov 24, 2018
Jay VanderGaast & Dwayne Swaby

Contrary to what we thought, the endemic Crested Quail-Dove was easy for us to find. We got several good views of this often difficult bird, making this a very Happy Thanksgiving for all! Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

I think we're pretty fortunate as North American birders to have the Caribbean islands so nearby. With several of the larger islands hosting a fair number of endemic species, the islands make for perfect short birding get-aways. The warm, sunny weather, even in winter, doesn't detract from their appeal, either! Jamaica, with its 27 endemics plus an assortment of other Caribbean specialties, was an ideal place to spend the Thanksgiving week, and I, for one, was very thankful to escape the winter weather back home and enjoy some hot Caribbean birding!

Our home for the period, the lovely Green Castle Estate, was a perfect base for our time on the island. Not only was it a comfortable "home" to return to each evening, but the grounds of the lodge itself held a good number of the endemic birds we had come here to see. Our time on the trails around the lodge gave us encounters with 16 of the endemics, with highlights that included an incredibly responsive pair of Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoos, our introduction to the charming Jamaican Tody, and daily looks at the spectacular Red-billed Streamertail, or Doctorbird. Jamaican Owl called nightly, and was seen by those of us that ventured out early one morning, and the non-endemic, but still cool Northern Potoo, was easily located around the lodge grounds after dark.

We had to venture further afield for the remainder of the island specialties, and so we did, with each site helping us to whittle down the list of endemics we still needed. A trip up to the higher parts of the Blue Mountains allowed us to catch up to several of the tougher to find species. The Mountain Witch, aka Crested Quail-Dove, gave itself up surprisingly easily, Blue Mountain Vireo wasn't much tougher, and Jamaican Blackbird, one of the rarest of the specialties, caused us just a small amount of anxiety before it, too, obligingly showed itself while we ate our lunches, with little effort on our part!. The next day's visit to Vinery gave us still more Crested Quail-Doves (who said this bird was tough?!?), plus Jamaican Pewee and a clean-up look at Yellow-shouldered Grassquit, which I might argue was the most difficult endemic to see well. And we finished up at Ecclesdown Road with super looks at both Black-billed and Yellow-billed Parrots, Jamaican Crow, and the black-billed form of Streamertail, which may deserve to be promoted to a good species on its own. The celebratory jerk lunch in Boston Bay was all the tastier with all the endemics under our belts. With no endemics remaining for our final day, we made a slight change to our plans, and were able to visit a site for Masked Duck, where a female and her ducklings were a much appreciated bonus on our bird lists.

The birds played a big role in making this a successful trip, but I need to give a shout out to a few locals that also had a big hand in making this a great trip. Our local guide Dwayne and driver Raymond were not only superb at their jobs, but awesome guys, too, and it was a pleasure to be in the field with the two of them. Rookie manager Laurie, did an admirable job ensuring that our stay at Green Castle Estate was excellent, and her staff, from chef Philbert to the various servers and cleaners and driver/handyman Tall Man all did their part to make our stay there enjoyable. And the wonderful Valerie was a perfect hostess for our final night's stay at the cozy Mynt Retreat. Finally, thanks to all of you for joining me on this trip. It was a pleasure to bird the island with you, and I hope we can do it again soon! Happy New Year to all of you.


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

We heard this Jamaican Owl calling at night, and managed to get a good (if somewhat awkward) view of it as well. Photo by participant Jan Wood.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors) – The most numerous migrant duck, with ~30 on the GCE reservoir, about double that at the Montego Bay sewage ponds, and 9 birds on the Spanish River. [b]
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata) – A couple in eclipse plumage on the GCE reservoir, then around 75 birds on the sewage ponds at Montego Bay. [b]
AMERICAN WIGEON (Mareca americana) – A couple of pairs were on the GCE reservoir. Unlike the shovelers, the males of this species were already in breeding plumage. [b]
RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris) – A single bird on the GCE reservoir. [b]
LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis) – An uncommon migrant. We had a pair on the GCE reservoir, then a single bird just offshore during a rest stop in Annotto Bay. [b]
MASKED DUCK (Nomonyx dominicus) – Raymond and Dwayne had located some of these hard-to-find ducks though we weren't certain we would have a chance to visit the site. But, as we'd already tallied all the endemics before we left GCE, we were able to change up our plans and look for these instead. It didn't look promising at first, as water levels had dropped a lot since they'd been there, but we finally tracked down a female with three beautiful ducklings. These ducks garnered a handful of votes for bird of the trip, including Rick's choice as his favorite overall. [N]
RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis) – Eight birds were on the GCE reservoir, and three on the Montego Bay sewage ponds.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus) – At least three birds on the reservoir at GCE, with a group of 7 hanging out together in a small arm of the pond at the Masked Duck site.
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps) – Three birds were on the Spanish River, and a single one at the GCE reservoir.
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens) – Seen in small numbers along the coast.

Here we are, very intent on something in the canopy. Photo by participant Rick Woodruff.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
BROWN PELICAN (SOUTHERN) (Pelecanus occidentalis occidentalis) – We didn't pick this one up until we drove through Montego Bay.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) – A single bird on our first day as we drove from Montego Bay to GCE.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Small numbers were seen on all but our first full day at GCE.
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – Less numerous than the Great Egret, with just a few scattered records.
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) – A single bird along the Buff Bay River as we drove up to the Blue Mountains, then several along the Spanish River and a bunch more around Montego Bay.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Only missed on the day we didn't leave the GCE grounds.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – One was at the GCE reservoir, and a few others at the Masked Duck site with one close bird also at the Montego Bay sewage ponds.
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea) – Several of these handsome herons were along the Swift and Spanish Rivers on our way back from Ecclesdown Road.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – One was feeding at the mouth of the Spanish River, then about half a dozen were at the Montego Bay sewage ponds.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Known locally as John Crow, these birds were seen daily throughout.

The endemic Black-billed Parrot was another usually difficult endemic that showed well for us. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
RED-TAILED HAWK (JAMAICENSIS) (Buteo jamaicensis jamaicensis) – Seen regularly in small numbers. This race is a resident here, as well as on Hispaniola and Puerto Rico.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata) – Fair numbers wherever there was appropriate habitat, including on the GCE reservoir.
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana) – Numerous on the GCE reservoir and a couple of other wetland sites. Now that Caribbean Coot is no longer a valid species, we didn't pay too close of attention to these birds, but at least some of them had the white shield typical of Caribbean Coot.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – A handful on the edge of the GCE reservoir, and a few other scattered records, with a high count of ~100 at the Montego Bay sewage ponds.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – A lone bird in non-breeding plumage at the mouth of the Spanish River, then a handful along the coast at our picnic lunch stop en route to Montego Bay. [b]
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus) – A single bird was at the Montego Bay sewage ponds. [b]
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus) – Two birds on the edge of the Masked Duck pond, and a single at the Montego Bay sewage ponds. [b]
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa violacea) – One bird was seen at the GCE reservoir on each of our visits. Other than that bird, we only saw a few birds at a couple of different sites on our final day. This subspecies is restricted to Cuba, Hispaniola and Jamaica.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) – An estimated 70+ birds at the Mobay sewage ponds were the only ones for the tour. [b]
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – Small numbers along various rivers and ponds on several days. [b]
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) – A single bird at the Spanish River Bridge, and another loner at the Masked Duck pond. [b]
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes) – Five birds alongside the Greater Yellowlegs at the Masked Duck pond offered a good comparison of the two species. [b]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla) – Small numbers along the coast on the drive back to Montego Bay.
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus) – The default tern here. We saw a handful of them on several days along the coast.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Regular in towns. [I]
WHITE-CROWNED PIGEON (Patagioenas leucocephala) – The common large pigeon in the lowlands. Common, but skittish and tough to see at GCE, but we had some exceptional scope views of several from the Spanish River bridge.
RING-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas caribaea) – Seems to mostly replace the previous species at higher elevations. We didn't see too many, but had decent looks in the Blue Mountains, at Vinery, and along Ecclesdown Road. [E]
COMMON GROUND-DOVE (Columbina passerina jamaicensis) – Seen daily, and especially often flushing up from roadsides and along trails.
CRESTED QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon versicolor) – I truly expected we would have to work harder for this species, as it has a reputation of being quite difficult to find. But we nailed it pretty easily in the Blue Mountains, when Raymond spotted a calling bird perched in the open. The following day we had at least a half dozen more at Vinery, including one walking along the track with typical, jerky movements. The "Mountain Witch" is the favorite bird of both Raymond and Dwayne, and Harry agreed, choosing it as his top bird of the trip. [E]
RUDDY QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon montana) – We flushed a couple of the trails at Vinery, then had excellent looks at a female on the road in the predawn gloom as we drove down from GCE, on our way to Montego Bay.

Participant Dick Williams got this lovely mirror-image shot of an immature Green Heron.

CARIBBEAN DOVE (Leptotila jamaicensis jamaicensis) – We had some reasonable views of these handsome doves along the trails at GCE, but those habituated birds at the Rocklands feeders were astounding, and allowed us to really appreciate their beauty.
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) – I was surprised at how few of these were around. We saw only a few, mainly in flight as we drove along the highway.
ZENAIDA DOVE (Zenaida aurita) – Quite common and seen daily, including on the grounds of GCE.
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura) – Scarce, and we had only two sightings, probably of the same birds, along the road not far from the lower entrance gate to GCE.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – Quite common in suitable habitat.
MANGROVE CUCKOO (Coccyzus minor) – We finally managed to get a decent look at one along the trails at GCE on our first day, and that turned out to be the only one we were to see on the tour.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED CUCKOO (Coccyzus pluvialis) – I expected this one to put up more of a fight, but maybe we were just lucky, as we saw a total of 6 birds over 4 days. Our initial encounter wasn't especially satisfying, but it seemed each time we saw them, the looks improved. That last bird, which Diane spotted sitting quietly along Ecclesdown Road, was easily the best of the bunch. [E]
JAMAICAN LIZARD-CUCKOO (Coccyzus vetula) – We had a couple of excellent sightings of these awesome birds, first on our initial day at GCE, then again at Vinery. Both times the birds showed beautifully, and we really got to appreciate the fine details of their plumage, as well as those incredibly long bills. This was a group favorite, tying for first overall in bird of the trip voting, thanks in part to two #1 rankings, courtesy of Dick and Bruce. [E]
Strigidae (Owls)
JAMAICAN OWL (Pseudoscops grammicus) – We were snubbed on our first attempt to see one of these guys, though the birds were quite vocal that night. Dwayne suggested the bright moon was working against us and he may well have been right. Whatever the case, we decided to give it a try in the early morning instead, and it worked like a charm. We heard owls almost as soon as we stepped out of the lodge, and a short walk brought us directly beneath one. Luckily, there was one window we could look through to see the bird, which peered straight down at us, but remained where it was until we walked away. [E]
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
NORTHERN POTOO (CARIBBEAN) (Nyctibius jamaicensis jamaicensis) – This was so much easier than the owl, and we nailed it early the first night when we walked out of the gates and found one sitting in a bare tree. We saw another the next night when we went out looking for owls, then a third on a day roost at Rocklands.

A highlight of our tour was finding this little family of Masked Ducks. This is another often difficult species, but our local guide Dwayne and driver Raymond knew where to look. Photo by participant Lois Wood.

Apodidae (Swifts)
ANTILLEAN PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis phoenicobia phoenicobia) – Surprisingly absent in Annotto Bay, where there are some of the palm trees they favor for nesting and roosting. But we finally picked up a few of these on our final day in the Montego Bay area.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
JAMAICAN MANGO (Anthracothorax mango) – We saw this gorgeous hummer every day, as there was one male that was a regular at the lodge feeders. Our best views were probably at Rocklands though, as the lighting there was especially good. [E]
VERVAIN HUMMINGBIRD (Mellisuga minima minima) – Just a quarter inch longer than the smallest bird in the world, the Cuban Bee Hummingbird. We saw a couple of these tiny birds around the grounds of GCE.
STREAMERTAIL (RED-BILLED) (Trochilus polytmus polytmus) – Spectacular! The Doctorbird is pretty much everywhere on the island, and we got to enjoy these beauties every day, including some up close and personal encounters at Rocklands, where we all had them perched on our fingers as they visited our hand-held feeders. The surprise for me with these birds was discovering what a loud and distinctive noise their wings make in flight. [E]
STREAMERTAIL (BLACK-BILLED) (Trochilus polytmus scitulus) – This form, once treated as a separate species, is restricted to the far eastern end of the island, where we saw them in the John Crow Mountains along Ecclesdown Road. In addition to the bill being black, it also appeared to be noticeably thinner than the bill of Red-billed Streamertail. Given the current trend of splitting species, I wouldn't be too surprised if they were re-split sometime in the neat future. [E]
Todidae (Todies)
JAMAICAN TODY (Todus todus) – Tied for first place as bird of the trip, thanks to top picks from Lois, Diane, and Jan. Though we only saw them in small numbers, we did get some fantastic looks at them, and saw them almost every day. This family is unique to the Caribbean islands. [E]
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) – A couple of sightings along the rivers on our way back from the John Crow Mountains, and on our final day en route to Montego Bay. [b]
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
JAMAICAN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes radiolatus) – One of the more easily seen endemics, these handsome woodpeckers were tallied every day, at pretty much every site we visited. [E]
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus varius) – An uncommon winter visitor, so the bird we saw so well at Vinery was a pretty good find. [b]

The Streamertail is known in Jamaica as the Doctorbird. This Red-billed form may be split as a separate species from the Black-billed form, which we also saw. Photo by participant Rick Woodruff.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AMERICAN KESTREL (HISPANIOLAN) (Falco sparverius dominicensis) – Quite common, and pretty variable. We saw them each day, with some birds looking very white below, with large amounts of white on the cheeks, others quite rufous, and very dark headed. The field guide suggests that only the Cuban race (which isn't supposed to be in Jamaica) has a dark morph, so I'm not sure what is going on. It sure appears that there are two races here.
MERLIN (Falco columbarius) – A perched female along Ecclesdown Road didn't stick around for long, but another female the next day at the Masked Duck pond hung around for the entire time we were there, perching in dead trees and regularly flying over the wetland in search of food. [b]
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
BLACK-BILLED PARROT (Amazona agilis) – This is usually the tougher of the two endemic parrot species to see well, but that wasn't the case this trip. A big flock flew in as we ate our picnic porridge along Ecclesdown Road, and for the next hour or so, they hung around, often perching quite close for some super looks. [E]
YELLOW-BILLED PARROT (Amazona collaria) – This more common species gave us a harder time. There were a few mixed in with the Black-billed Parrots, but they generally were quite far off. We did get some good scope views of them, though. [E]
OLIVE-THROATED PARAKEET (JAMAICAN) (Eupsittula nana nana) – This subspecies is endemic to Jamaica, where it is the most widespread parrot species. We saw them regularly, with some good looks at Vinery and along Ecclesdown Road.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
JAMAICAN ELAENIA (Myiopagis cotta) – One of the trickier endemics, and our only sighting was of a pair of birds at GCE on our first morning. They played a bit hard to get, staying high in the canopy, but eventually we got them in an area where the looks were pretty good. [E]
GREATER ANTILLEAN ELAENIA (JAMAICAN) (Elaenia fallax fallax) – We were enjoying our picnic lunch in the Blue Mountains when a couple of us noted a pair of nondescript birds in a nearby fruiting tree. It took a while to get clear looks at them, but we finally did and noted they were this elaenia, which is rather scarce in the country. This species occurs only in Hispaniola and here in Jamaica.
JAMAICAN PEWEE (Contopus pallidus) – A couple of folks saw one as we birded along the road in the Hardwar Gap, then we all caught up with it at Vinery, where we had an active bird feeding right over the trail. [E]
SAD FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus barbirostris) – The smaller of the two endemic Myiarchus flycatchers. We saw this one daily, including on the grounds of GCE. [E]
RUFOUS-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus validus) – Larger and more brightly-colored than the Sad Flycatcher. We had several great looks at these, seeing them every day, including at GCE. [E]
LOGGERHEAD KINGBIRD (LOGGERHEAD) (Tyrannus caudifasciatus jamaicensis) – A common species throughout, and we saw them daily.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
JAMAICAN BECARD (Pachyramphus niger) – Not terribly numerous or conspicuous, but we managed a few looks. We had a couple of males that showed well in the Blue Mountains, then a female the next day at Vinery. [E]
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BLUE MOUNTAIN VIREO (Vireo osburni) – Seen only on our day up in the Blue Mountains, where we had very good looks at several. [E]
JAMAICAN VIREO (Vireo modestus) – More widespread than Blue Mountain Vireo, and we saw these most days, including on the grounds of GCE, though they weren't especially obvious. I think our first one along the driveway on our first day might have given us our best looks. [E]
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
JAMAICAN CROW (Corvus jamaicensis) – There was no sign of the trio of birds that had been hanging around the lodge just prior to the tour, but we finally caught up with these along Ecclesdown Road, where they were fairly common. The Masked Duck site also proved to be a good place for this species, and there were quite a few flying around there. [E]
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
CAVE SWALLOW (CARIBBEAN) (Petrochelidon fulva poeciloma) – Swallows were in short supply here this trip, and the only ones seen were at a great distance from the overlook at Rocklands.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
RUFOUS-THROATED SOLITAIRE (RUFOUS-THROATED) (Myadestes genibarbis solitarius) – Most of the group had nice views of one of these beauties in the Hardwar Gap. Those that missed it got great looks the next day at Vinery, as we began the walk down while the first group rode down in the truck. This solitaire has a very restricted range, occurring only here, in Hispaniola, and on 4 of the Lesser Antilles (Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia and St. Vincent).

This Mangrove Cuckoo we found at Green Castle Estate turned out to be the only one we saw, although we did get some great views of the endemic Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo and Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo as well. Photo by participant Jan Wood.

WHITE-EYED THRUSH (Turdus jamaicensis) – We had just a handful of these at the Hardwar Gap and a single at Vinery, but we had pretty good views of a couple. For a predominately brown bird, this is a remarkably handsome species. [E]
WHITE-CHINNED THRUSH (Turdus aurantius) – Very common and seen in good numbers daily, including at GCE. [E]
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos) – Common and widespread, particularly in and around towns and villages.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) – I think a couple of folks mentioned seeing this around Montego Bay on our last day, but I don't see it marked on our list, so we might have forgotten to check it off. [I]
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla) – A couple of birds at GCE on our first day, then singles at Vinery and the Masked Duck site. [b]
WORM-EATING WARBLER (Helmitheros vermivorum) – A pair of these blasted by us at GCE the first day, but no one other than me got a good view. A bird along Ecclesdown Road a few days later was much more cooperative, and we all enjoyed plenty of looks as it probed in clusters of dead leaves low in the roadside vegetation. [b]
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – Heard a few times, but the only one we managed to see was on Ecclesdown Road, just where we turned around to head back down. [b]
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) – A fairly common wintering bird, and we had a few on several days. [b]
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas) – A couple of birds around the edges of the GCE reservoir, a couple on scrubby pastures along Ecclesdown Road, and one or two at the Masked Duck pond. [b]
ARROWHEAD WARBLER (Setophaga pharetra) – This handsome endemic warbler was seen beautifully a few times up in the Blue Mountains, with a single the following day at Vinery. [E]
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – Easily the most common migrant warbler, and we saw them daily in good numbers. [b]

Our driver, Raymond (left) and local guide Dwayne (right) teamed up with Jay to make this a very successful tour! Photo by participant Lois Wood.

CAPE MAY WARBLER (Setophaga tigrina) – Folks in the first truckload at Vinery saw 3 of these birds while they waited for the second group to arrive. The next day we had a couple of birds along Ecclesdown Road for the rest of us to catch up on. Interestingly, all of them were seen in fruiting akee trees, so apparently they are fond of those fruits. [b]
NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana) – One of the most numerous of the wintering warblers here, and we had small numbers of them on a daily basis. [b]
BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER (Setophaga caerulescens) – Also quite a common winterer, and seen every day of the trip. [b]
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (Setophaga coronata) – Two birds feeding low over the water at the Masked Duck pond were the only ones of the tour. [b]
PRAIRIE WARBLER (Setophaga discolor) – Not numerous, but we saw this gorgeous warbler in ones and twos on most days. [b]
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
BANANAQUIT (CARIBBEAN) (Coereba flaveola flaveola) – Abundant and pretty much everywhere. It was interesting to me to see how much these differ, both visually and vocally, from the Central American birds I'm more familiar with.
YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus olivaceus) – Seen in small numbers on a daily basis. Best were the rather tame ones at Rocklands.
BLACK-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris bicolor marchii) – Extraordinarily common in mountain clearings, where ever the preferred guinea grass was in seed.
ORANGEQUIT (Euneornis campestris) – The females are not much to look at, but those males are fantastic, especially once you get one in good light. We saw these daily, but it was hard to beat those incredible views at the Rocklands feeders. [E]
GREATER ANTILLEAN BULLFINCH (Loxigilla violacea ruficollis) – Surprisingly scarce, and we had just two males, one each at GCE (our first morning) and the Blue Mountains, though neither stuck around long enough for everyone to see.
YELLOW-SHOULDERED GRASSQUIT (Loxipasser anoxanthus) – Arguably one of the toughest of the endemics to come by. Not a true grassquit, and it actually reminded me a lot of St. Lucia Black Finch, which it is apparently closely related to. Lois and I got on a male at GCE our first day, but it quickly vanished. Luckily, there were several calling at Vinery, and though they were still tricky to see, we all ended up with decent looks. We heard another at the Masked Duck site on our last day, but just couldn't lay eyes on it. [E]
Spindalidae (Spindalises)
JAMAICAN SPINDALIS (Spindalis nigricephala) – A really striking bird, and luckily not too hard to see either. We saw them most days, but has them especially well in fruiting trees in the Blue Mountains. [E]

Another highlight of the tour was our visit to Rocklands, where we were able to hand-feed the Red-billed Streamertails. Participant Rick Woodruff snapped this image of fellow travelers Woody and Bruce, intent on a customer.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
JAMAICAN ORIOLE (Icterus leucopteryx leucopteryx) – Fairly common, and seen daily, including on the grounds at GCE. Despite the name, it isn't quite an island endemic, occurring also on San Andres Island, which belongs to Colombia, and formerly on Grand Cayman.
JAMAICAN BLACKBIRD (Nesopsar nigerrimus) – Another tricky endemic, and more like an oriole than other blackbirds in behavior. We had heard a couple without any sightings on our morning in the Blue Mountains, but then, as we sat on the roadside and ate our lunch, a pair of them suddenly turned up in the trees right next to us and gave us all superb views, drawing a big sigh of relief from your guides! [E]
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis) – Harry and I saw a lone female at the Rocklands feeders while everyone else was enjoying some of the better-looking species there.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – A lone female hanging out at the Groovy Grouper Bar and Grill at the Mobay Airport was likely the same one that was seen here last year. This species is a recent arrival on the island, though most records are from around Kingston.
GREATER ANTILLEAN GRACKLE (Quiscalus niger crassirostris) – Very common and seen daily.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
JAMAICAN EUPHONIA (Euphonia jamaica) – We sure heard a lot of these, but seeing them was another story. We did manage to see them several times, but they were far trickier to track down than I'd anticipated. [E]

SMALL INDIAN MONGOOSE (Herpestes auropunctatus) – Unfortunately this little predator has been introduced here and is doing quite well. We had a few sightings including at GCE. [I]


Totals for the tour: 105 bird taxa and 1 mammal taxa